While there are many types of carpet available, it’s really only as good as its padding. The carpet padding you choose will impact comfort, durability and even the R-value (the measure of a room’s insulation). Also, the wrong padding may shorten the life of your flooring. So, while cheaper padding may cost less now, it could lead to a higher long-term cost in terms of more frequent flooring replacements and higher energy costs. Here, we’ll briefly discuss a few considerations for choosing quality carpet padding.
Foot traffic puts stress on the small fibers that make up your carpet. The proper padding absorbs shock and helps relieve this stress. Reduced pressure on the carpet means less fraying for the fibers and more durability for the backing. Altogether, this will help extend the life of your carpet. Also, softer padding may feel better by hand, but firmer is better for your carpet.
The thickness of your carpet padding will greatly impact durability. Padding that is too thin or too thick can cause the carpet to wear faster. The ideal thickness varies, but this information is typically readily available with the carpet’s documentation.
Pad density refers to the padding’s weight. For residential applications, it’s typically measured in pounds. Generally, a quality padding will have a density above 6.5 lbs. However, if you plan to keep your carpet for decades, it’s usually better to choose a density higher than 8 lbs. Of course, there are a few exceptions (mostly in extreme cases), so, once again, check the documentation included with your carpet.
Carpet is often preferred over hard surface flooring for its comfort. It’s softer and offers a warmer surface during colder months. The right padding can also help. Memory foam is often regarded as the most comfortable padding to walk on, although low-end memory foam padding offers less durability.
A quality carpet cushion can also help reduce noise transfers. This is especially useful in multi-level homes and apartment buildings. Both thickness and material play an important role in sound reduction. Memory foam and rubber padding tend to work best, although rubber padding is rarely used in residential homes.
Pet Friendly Carpet Padding
Have you ever cleaned up after your pet, only to realize that the odor still lingers? This is usually because it soaked through the carpet and into the padding. Many newer pads are designed to prevent absorption from pet mistakes. Even better, pet friendly carpet padding typically contains antibacterial and odor-eliminating properties. However, some manufacturers exaggerate their claims. It’s typically better to also purchase a pet-friendly carpet option, such as the STAINMASTER® PetProtect® carpet and cushion system.
Types Of Carpet Padding
Now that we’ve discussed important features to consider, here’s a quick look at the most common types of padding.
Rebond: This is the most common type of padding for residential homes. Rebond usually offers the best balance between price and long-term durability. It’s also composed of recycled materials, making it an environmentally-friendly option.
Foam Padding: Urethane foam offers the most affordable padding option. Unfortunately, it’s also the least durable. It is better suited for areas with light traffic or places where carpet will be replaced frequently (such as in apartments).
Memory Foam Padding: it’s hard to beat the comfort of memory foam padding. However, softer isn’t always better. A firm padding will help your carpet maintain its durability over time.
Moisture Barrier Padding: Believe it or not, there is a carpet padding that is designed for below-grade installation. As the name implies, moisture barrier padding repels moisture rather than allowing it to soak through (as it would with traditional carpet padding). However, it can sometimes work too well. If there are any breaches in the carpet padding (whether a tear or through improper installation), moisture can spill through. When this happens, it’s nearly impossible to detect or remove. Even worse, much of a basement’s moisture comes from the floor. In either case, liquids trapped under the padding will promote mold growth. Always ask a professional before purchasing moisture barrier padding.
Carpet padding is only one of several important considerations when purchasing new floors. If you’re ready to make an informed choice, visit Canton’s top carpet experts at Bob and Pete’s Floors today!